I’ll hear from David Koon before long, but I note a KATV Tweet that says 12 jurors have been chosen for the retrial of Josh Hastings, a former Little Rock cop, on a manslaughter charge in the death of Bobby Moore, 15.
UPDATE: David Koon says that, contrary to suggestions in the KATV Twitter feed, that the jury has NOT been selected and questioning of potential jurors is continuing. It appears the report may have arisen from the judge’s practice of putting 12 potential jurors in the jury box at a time for group questioning. When one is weeded out, another takes the seat from the larger pool, but no jurors have been formally chosen or seated for the trial as yet.
The pool has been well mixed by race and gender. The final demographic shape will be of some interest.
Race has been a subtext of the case because Hastings is white and the victim, a car burglary suspect, was black. The Little Rock Police Department is facing a lawsuit over allegations that its officers are more prone to use deadly force against black people. The judge in the case, Wendell Griffen, also took control of juror questioning for this trial because of what he suggested was a lack of “cultural competency” on the part of trial participants in Hastings’ first trial, which ended in a hung jury. Griffen, who is black, said he wanted to make sure racial bias didn’t affect the outcome. The first Hastings jury was all white. Nonetheless, it split 9-3 in favor of conviction, according to jurors.
The trial is expected to take several weeks. A big part of the case turns on state expert witnesses whose testimony is meant to show that Hastings didn’t tell the truth about events that night and that the car he shot into didn’t present a threat to him.